Rasputina

Lost and Found 2nd Edition (Instinct Records)

I read The Catcher in the Rye about seven times before I realized that it depicted Holden Caulfield's spiral into depression. Initially, I thought he was just a caustically sarcastic son of a bitch with a love for alcohol. When my 10th-grade English teacher pointed out that Holden was telling the story from a mental hospital, I read the book again.

Melora Creager is a lot like that teacher. Creager, vocalist for self-described "pseudo classical hard-core positive goth" band Rasputina, interprets seven out-of-left-field songs on Lost and Found 2nd Edition, the band's latest EP, and – here's an understatement – the covers defy innocent perceptions.

Creager has a knack for making black-eye-liner-wearing "negative" goths look like a bunch of undereducated pussies. Anyone can say, "I hate myself and I want to die," but it takes a real pro to turn innocuous nursery rhymes and Creedence Clearwater Revival songs into nightmarish spine-tinglers.

Hence, listening to Rasputina's "This Little Piggy" is like being reintroduced to an old childhood friend who's become a heroin addict. What the heck happened to little Joey, and why does he break into that electronica jig in the middle of talking about sending pigs to the slaughter? The band sounds most natural here on Marilyn Manson's "Tourniquet," not only because Creager's artistic endeavors seem to have been birthed out of a chance meeting of Manson and Emily Dickinson, but also because the subject matter (spider legs, little teeth and the like) is befitting of the enigmatic sound.

Perhaps more disturbingly amusing, while CCR's classic "Bad Moon Rising" is fodder for a country hoe-down, Rasputina's version sounds like it's being performed by the house band in a bomb shelter. Creager's haunting voice and an ominous cello put a new twist on old lyrics – "Hope you have got your things together/Hope you are quite prepared to die/Looks like we're in for nasty weather/One eye is taken for an eye."

It seems the same part of me that had been too blind to see that Holden was too depressed even to sleep with that prostitute also neglected the apocalyptic leanings of John Fogerty. Man, Creager and I should have hung together in high school.

 
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